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How to Garden in Narrow Side Yards Without a Fence

Vegetable gardens bring bright joy and harvests to home gardeners, but require preparation, careful planning and maintenance. They can also require large spaces if they include larger bush plants like tomatoes, corn and okra. Vegetable gardens don't have to be big and overwhelming, though, and avid gardeners learn to put every scrap of available land to use when possible. If you have a narrow side yard without much space, amend the soil and plant compact plants for a small-scale vegetable patch.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Organic compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
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    • 1

      Start your small garden in early spring, one to two weeks ahead of the last frost. This preparation gives you time for soil amendment and early, cool-season plantings.

    • 2

      Mark out the largest possible amount of land for the garden. Rake the soil to gather rocks and weeds and throw them out. Till the top layer of soil to loosen it for growing, and mix 5 to 6 inches of organic compost or leaf mold in. This adds nutrition and raises the soil level to eliminate any drainage issues. Mix 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer into the top 6 inches of amended soil for more vitamins and minerals.

    • 3

      Decide on vegetables based on the lighting conditions. Plant small root vegetables like carrots and radishes, with leafy greens like broccoli, spinach and lettuce in partial shade. Plant compact sun-loving plants like beets, peas, celery, bush beans, asparagus and peppers in sunnier sites. These vegetables maintain small growth without support from a fence or trellis for your compact garden.

    • 4

      Plant cool-season vegetables like root crops, leafy greens, asparagus, celery and peas around the last frost. Leave warm-season vegetables like beans and peppers until the ground thaws and night time temperatures rise to 65 degrees F.

    • 5

      Mulch the entire garden with 1 inch of mulch for soil moisture and warmth, and water all the plants with 2 inches of water every week.